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Lockport man arrested — again — for string of burglaries across WNY

In 2011, Matthew E. Bartz of Lockport, who police believed had been involved in more than 70 burglaries, was arrested following a three-day manhunt.

In 2013, he was discharged after successfully completing a drug treatment program.

Last Monday, he was arrested by Amherst Police for several burglaries across Western New York.

Amherst Police announced Thursday that Bartz, 37, was charged with seven felony offenses from the Town of Amherst related to burglaries in Clarence, Elma, Depew, Lockport and Amherst.

Bartz was arrested by Amherst Police along with New York State Police and the Erie County Sheriff's Department. A joint investigation is ongoing, officials said.

The last time Bartz was sought by police, officials considered him armed, dangerous and possibly suicidal. A three-day manhunt that involved several police agencies and the Erie County sheriff's helicopter ended with his capture on Dec. 2, 2011, when he was tackled in a Lockport parking lot following a brief foot chase.

Bartz had been wanted in connection with dozens of thefts of businesses throughout Erie and Niagara Counties.

"The term 'dozens of thefts' would not be an overreach," said Lockport Police Chief Lawrence M. Eggert said during the manhunt. "I don't even think we've scratched the surface. He is a very technically proficient burglar."

In February 2012, Bartz, who was originally accused of eight burglaries, pleaded guilty to three counts of third-degree burglary and entered a two-year judicial diversion program of court-supervised drug treatment as an alternative to imprisonment.

"If you complete the diversion program," State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. said at the time, "I'm not going to send you to jail."

In November 2013, Bartz was discharged from the program, with Kloch saying that Bartz's performance in the diversion program was one of the best he'd seen.

Bartz was arraigned last Monday in Amherst Town Court by Judge Kara Buscaglia on the seven felonies and is being held at the Erie County Holding Center in lieu of $20,000 cash bail and $100,000 bond for each charge. Amherst Police reported that further charges are pending against Bartz in other jurisdictions.

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